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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 04-20-2011, 12:59 PM
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Default Is court worth it over lack of communication?

Worth going to court?

I was married for 6 years, we have 1 son who is 4 now and been separated around 8 months. My ex has 2 university degrees and is certified to be a teacher. She stopped working when our son was born and didn’t want to go back. She has a life-long history of depression and always hated her job. I wanted to make her happy so we agreed to survive on my income alone.

Anyways, 8 months ago my ex called me at work and told me not to come home; she had changed the locks and didn’t want to communicate with me in any way. This didn’t last very long as I called the police and eventually was able to return to the home after a week. Unfortunately she chose not to stay, and left with our son. So I was left with the matrimonial home.

Around then we both lawyered up. Since then I’ve been paying her the median amount of spousal support and table amount of child support. My salary was around 57k when we split. Her indication was that we should sell the house. I had no issue with this. I got the house listed and sold it.

Right after I sold it, she changed her NFP suddenly claiming she had tens of thousands of dollars from her family before we were married. We asked for bank statements to support the money being in her name. We have been waiting 4 months but she hasn’t produced anything. As the money from house is held in trust, it will not be released until this is settled. Obviously her goal was to trick me into selling the house and then take the money hostage until I let her get all of it as "equalization". She comes from a very wealthy family.

What is true is that her family agreed that when she was married and wanted to buy her first home, her family would give us a down payment. What is subject to debate is if this situation constitutes an exclusion of NFP from before the marriage or not. The money was not in her name (ever) and was transferred from a family bank account on the day we purchased the home (after 1 year of marriage). According to family law, the money is then part of the joint matrimonial asset being the house and will be split evenly. She doesn’t seem to understand or accept this.

We sold the house for a good profit, but fighting over the equity in it is eating away whatever benefit I might have had from it. My X is not paying her legal bills; her very wealthy family is paying for everything. Thus she seems to feel she can act however she wants, break whatever agreements she feels like, demand ridiculous things, because she has no clue how much all of her shenanigans are costing me and her family in legal costs.

Anyways what it basically boils down to is this:
-She wants $70k of the $100k from the home. She also wants sole custody and unlimited spousal until she chooses to return to work, if ever. Obviously child support too.
-I have offered her $50k from the home, because she has no bank statements proving she is owed anything more than half. I have also offered 1 year of spousal support and child support. I prefer joint custody due to her lifelong depression.

She refuses to go to work and put our son in daycare, though he is old enough to start school in a few months. She also seems to be trying to delay his entry into school for another year. Our son has a genetic condition called NF1, and he’s been monitored and tested many times but is doing fine and hasn’t been diagnosed with anything resulting from it.
I understand that realistically she may be entitled to 2-3 years of spousal support since it was a 6 year marriage, and perhaps I could accept that, but she doesn’t seem to want to set an end date.

All I want is what is fair: Half of the money from our home, joint legal custody with reasonable access (a short visit every week and every 2nd weekend) perhaps a bit more when he is older if it’s practical… and an end date to spousal support. It seems ridiculous that I should have to go all the way to court for these things.

As we begin our court application I already see how lawyers play their game. My lawyer is already pushing me to ask for full custody and child support from my ex. Not because I want it or because it is in anyone’s best interest, but just to be adversarial to force her to compromise before a judge is asked to rule on it. I can see that this and many other nasty strategies are going to be employed going forward, all because my X refuses to communicate with me.

Just looking at the finances I was inspired by Garry’s post in the chat forum. I have considered the idea of trying to take sole custody. After all, if my ex cannot or will not support herself and our child, and I can, it should be a logical choice that I can provide better care and a better home for him going forward.

The fact is that my X has never grown up or accepted responsibilities for her choices. She wanted to end our marriage over very normal, workable issues, and yet she refuses to accept responsibility of her choice and take on the role of being a single mom. Her whole life her wealthy parents have always bailed her out and solved all her problems with money. She never had to work hard for anything. Then she married me and I continued to support her and bail her out. So she is assuming that this is how life works. She wants all the financial benefits of being married to me without me.

I am concerned that going forward to court will make things even worse, and that no one will get what they want. I had high hopes for mediation, but she refuses to go, in what seems to be typical fashion, she is being difficult, refusing to cooperate in any way, and assuming that is grounds for her to have sole custody.

I’m not liking the idea of rolling the dice to see if I get a judge who will accept that, or see that I’ve done everything I can to continue supporting my X and child and only want what is fair.

Do you think court is worth it?
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winterwolf7 View Post
Worth going to court?

I’m not liking the idea of rolling the dice to see if I get a judge who will accept that, or see that I’ve done everything I can to continue supporting my X and child and only want what is fair.

Do you think court is worth it?
I would try all possible and impossible solutions to stay out of Court. Read book Courts from Hell that I have posted here ... It's not big; took me two evening to read... You will get an idea...
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:13 PM
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Do you think I could do worse than losing custody, paying SS indefinitely along with CS and losing 40% of my equity from my house?

It's been 8 months and she has not budged 1 inch on any of these issues. As her rich parents are paying for all her legal bills and helping meet her living expenses and I'm living in someone's basement, driving a borrowed car, sleeping on borrowed furniture, she is just waiting for me to run out of options and give up and give it all to her.

I like to think that I could get at least one of the issues in my favour in court since she isn't negotiating or willing to go to mediation. But I watched the video and read the materials and I understand what you mean.

If there was anything else I could do to survive and have enough money to live somewhere then I would. I'll keep trying to force other options in the mean time... and pray that the case conference will be an eye opener.
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:21 PM
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Do you think I could do worse than losing custody, paying SS indefinitely along with CS and losing 40% of my equity from my house?
Easily... As example you can be charged with assault base on false accusation. You can get all what you said going thru court and on top pay about 30k-50k in legal fees...
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:55 PM
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DO everything possible to stay out of court - it is horrible and they will take a middle of the road approach so that no one is happy - this all after an emotional rollercoaster for 1-2+ years and 10's of thousands of dollars in legal fees. I think you're stance is correct - 50/50 on financials, spousal for 3 years and table child support plus section 7. I think joint custody should work in your situation and if you're fine with access EOW and 1 mid-week I don't think you could do much worse in court. But be flexible on the $$'s to a certain degree to get yourself out of this as quickly and painlessly as possible. Approach financials as a business decision - cost/benefit will show you it's better to settle within reason than go to court.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:13 PM
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I would love to be flexible on the financials, and meet around halfway on what she thinks she "deserves", instead of giving all that money to lawyers. But she won't negotiate or budge an inch and is taking an all or nothing approach.

I would hope a judge would send us to mediation; the issues are not complicated and I am very willing to be flexible. I am not interested in giving her "everything" because I have to live too. I don't even care about getting what is fair (50%) but I need to have enough leftover to rebuild my life and move on.

I have done the best/worst/average case on the financials. In the best case I could see me getting 35k and her 44k. In the worst case she would get 67k and I would have nothing. If I just give her everything she wants I would get 20k and she would get 67k. This assumes I am paying 10-20k in legal fees to get a ruling, and in the best case I am awarded 60% of costs.

Good point on the trumped up charges thing. My X's friends have already told me that her family will do anything to make me lose the house money and that they didn't care what was fair, right or even legal to do it. I've seen plenty of evidence to indicate this is true.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:28 PM
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And if she refuses your reasonable offer, then make sure you ask for costs. You need to be firm with your lawyer and prevent him from dicking around or do any back and forth. Get him to push towards trial.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:53 PM
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Unfortunately we have already been dicking around and going back and forth for almost 8 months at the cost of around 12k so far. Now I am pushing for court aggressively, though obviously from this post, I am agonized by the decision to do so.

Self representation is a possibility, however she has no such limitations for her legal bills and it would be myself against her snake lawyer and his 25 years of experience, thus I would rather retain counsel.

We made her a one time offer that even included giving her sole custody if she would back off on the house money and split it 50/50. No such luck. I have offered mediation (and am keeping it open as an option permanently) and been insulted in return.

So yes, obviously I will be asking for costs since she hasn't left me any options.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:13 PM
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I'd push for trial and forget mediation. Sounds like she's already not willing to negotiate so just try to put the pressure on her and get it settled faster by going the court route even faster. She sounds like she's being unreasonable and I would hope in that case you'll be awarded costs. I understand it's crappy when one person isn't willing to settle according to the rules - it means you end up paying a tonne of money in legal fees just to get a fair result - only other option seems to be to give it all away but this certainly isn't fair. Crappy system we've got doesn't allow for these situations of 1 party being unreasonable is detrimental to ALL.

Again, just keep pushing and hopefully she'll see the light. If she has any brain, she will settle before then but not until you give her the nudge.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winterwolf7 View Post
We made her a one time offer that even included giving her sole custody if she would back off on the house money and split it 50/50.
This statement speaks volumes. You are more concerned about the money than anything else. The only way you'll get that is to go to court.
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